I was talking recently with a dealer employee who handled chat conversations with website shoppers. They shared with me their stress about running back and forth to the sales desk to get questions answered. I shared with them what I will share with you:
The goal of live chat and text messaging on the website is to generate quality lead information.
We have seen chat transcripts in which the dealer chat operator spend 20 to 30 minutes running around the dealership answering questions about everything except the final drive ratio, ran all over the store looking for answers to every question, and didn’t end up with an email address or phone number.
Of course, it’s important to answer reasonable questions to the best of your ability and be a resource for the shopper. BUT, chat works best when you position your operators like the dealership receptionist. Filling out a website form for a website shopper is similar to calling in after hours and leaving a message in the voicemail box – there is a fear that they won’t get contacted.
When a LIVE person, like a receptionist or chat operator, tell a prospect or customer that someone from the dealership will call them back, they have a lot more trust and confidence in the experience. In the case of chat and text, they get to initiate the conversation using technology within their comfort level that they use every day.
Chat operators must earn trust from customers
The conversation can continue through emails and / or phone conversations, but the important thing is that the chat or text operator earned the credibility to ask and receive customer contact information.
That leads us to one final thought… don’t force a customer to give you their name or any other contact information BEFORE the chat starts. There are a couple of reasons why. First, just like pouncing on a customer on the lot the moment they climb out of their car, it can create website bounce. Second, if they give you a fake name up front, there’s pretty much zero chance that they will end up giving you their real information.
Chat and text are mainstream technologies that can give dealership website lead counts a significant boost, but only when the conversations are handled properly. When that happens, everybody wins.